Fashion Confessions: I Bought a Smock

In the first of a new series, Fashion Police editor Amber McNaught shares some of her adventures in the fashion wilderness, starting with a confession which might shed some light on the reasons behind The Fashion Police’s hatred of smocks…

Fashion Confessions: I bought a smock

(…but it wasn’t this smock.)

Fashion Confessions # 1:

I bought a smock.

Oh, don’t worry: it wasn’t recent. And it wasn’t the smock in the photo, either (although it wasn’t all that different from it, if the truth be told…).  Actually, I was about 16 at the time, and the smock in question was beige (yes, beige), voluminous, and it quite possibly had some kind of Peter Pan collar, too, if memory serves.

However ugly you’re imagining that smock to be?

It was worse.

In my heart of hearts, I knew the smock was a mistake even as I tried it on. I mean, unless you’re a painter (or, you know, pregnant), smocks are almost ALWAYS a mistake, aren’t they? I bought it anyway, though. Look, I was sixteen. I was stupid. And the next day, I was headed to the local college with a bunch of my classmates, on some kind of high school excursion which involved us spending a day in the life of a college student. I HAD to have something new to wear for this (See: I WAS SIXTEEN, above), and when a long, hard day of shopping failed to turn up anything nice, I decided to settle for something ugly instead.

I decided to settle on the smock.

The next morning I took my time getting ready. I carefully applied my make-up and did my hair. Then I slipped into the smock and instantly realised all my efforts were in vain, because I WAS WEARING A FREAKING SMOCK. GOD.

I looked at the problem (And by “the problem” I mean “the smock”…) from all angles, and quickly realised the issue was the sheer volume around my waist. Like the smock in the image above, mine was short but full: it made me look like I was wearing a small tent draped over my shoulders. Or like a heavily pregnant teen determined to hide her “condition” for as long as possible.

I tried tucking it into my jeans.

That didn’t work either, of course. Smocks just aren’t designed to be tucked in. I had to let my belt out a few holes just to accommodate all the extra fabric, and once I was done, I simply looked like someone had pulled a drawstring closed around the base of the tent. So I untucked, and stood there for a few minutes, considering my reflection and wondering what on earth I should do. I briefly considered changing the smock for something else, but no: this was unthinkable. It was NEW, you see. At sixteen, I hardly ever had the money for new clothes, and I’d already removed the tags, so the smock wasn’t going back. I would wear it or I would die trying.

(I actually came to wish I HAD died trying, to be honest. But I digress.)

Well, I pulled my coat on, and headed off to school, and then onto the bus to take me and my classmates to college for our excursion. I kept my coat on for as long as I possibly could, and was secretly thankful when we were all split up into groups and sent to take part in different activities. With fewer people around to witness my smock disgrace, I grew brave: brave enough to remove my jacket, and behave for all the world as if I WASN’T wearing a giant smock.

There were a couple of strange looks to deal with, admittedly. I may have heard a quiet snigger or two. But nothing bad happened as a result of me wearing a smock in public, so I allowed myself to forget all about it. I probably would have continued to forget all about it if it wasn’t for the lunch break.

Some of my classmates and I had arranged to meet up for lunch. I caught up with them in the dining room, and we all started to chat excitedly about our day so far. It was all going well until a (male) friend of mine suddenly leant across the table.

“So, what were you doing, Amber?” he asked seriously. “And how come you had to wear overalls for it?”

An awkward silence descended. I flushed bright red and pretended I hadn’t heard, but my friend was persistent.

“Seriously,” he said, “Where did you get the apron thing? Did they hand them out or something?”

I. Was. Mortified. And so was my friend, once he realised I hadn’t been forced to wear some kind of overall: those were my ACTUAL CLOTHES. That I was wearing by CHOICE.

My friend apologised over and over. I accepted his apology, and pretended to brush it off. But I learned more that day than what student life would be like. I learned that if you wear a smock in public, people WILL think you’ve been forced into it against your will. And that, my friends, is how I came to hate the smock.

Fashion Confessions

About the author:
Amber McNaught is a journalist-turned-blogger and the founder of The Fashion Police and Shoeperwoman. She blogs about personal style and life in general at Forever Amber. She regularly commits crimes of fashion.

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